Friday, July 22, 2005

I park as light starts to fall
If there is to be a sunset tonight
The sky will color farmhouses and newly mown fields here
Where only ghosts and unwhispered stories will join me.
I wander across the small grassy plot behind an old wood sign waiting
For the paintbox to spill across the sky,
Waiting for some noise to break the silence of stones,
long dried bouquets, empty flagpole
Waiting to hear the breeze rustle through the scattering of trees.

But no repeat of last nights fires unfold,
Only a gentle golden haze and a growing chill.
Bare-armed I shiver and crouch to
Run my fingers over the single crudely-hewn word at my feet:

Whatever heartbreak I have endured
Shrinks to nothing against this grief.
Curious behind their fence, the llamas watch me
Return quickly to my car
Back out the gravel road,
I deliberately scan the horizon for the flight of an owl
Abandoning the pink and gray headstones and their
Frozen, stoic advertisements for impermanence.

Lyrics drift up from the car speakers
"I want to live, I want to give
I've been a miner for a heart of gold"

And the sky fades to a honeyed slate as I drive
Back towards the living places-
The video store and the biker bar,
My neighborhood's glowing kitchen lights,
Young brothers in baggy shorts walking home
Passing a basketball back and forth, easy, unaware
How death looms just around the corner.

(Lyrics excerpted from Neil Young's "Heart of Gold")

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